'Eerie Halloween' features Mercyhurst Talent

Steve Perkins PhotoSteve Perkins Photo

The D’Angelo Opera Theatre at Mercyhurst University and the Erie Art Museum are combining their artistic resources to present “An Eerie Halloween,” a truly unique Halloween event celebrating music, art and the macabre.

Designed to appeal as much to the opera aficionado as the party animal, it debuts the evening of Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. with guided gallery tours at the Erie Art Museum (enter on E. 5th Street between State and French), with special attention to exhibits that include sculptures made of “strange” materials and works in a variety of media that fool the eye with powerful illusions.

Guests are encouraged to arrive at the art museum in costume, for which prizes will be awarded later, and enjoy a reception with assorted sandwiches and Halloween-themed desserts provided by Mercyhurst’s hospitality students. Beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Then at 8:30 p.m., the D’Angelo Opera Theatre will present Gian Carlo Menotti’s thriller-opera, “The Medium.” The story centers on Madame Flora (Lynn Dula), an alcoholic grifter who uses her children to perpetrate cons on vulnerable clients, including parents who have lost children. After a while, the woman herself begins to hear voices and other inexplicable sounds.

Directed by D’Angelo Department of Music Chair Louisa Jonason, an opera singer and stage director with international credentials, “The Medium” also stars Devon Meddock as Madame Flora’s daughter and Adam Ferrari as the mute servant boy. The fully staged production with costumes, lighting and a small orchestral ensemble will unfold in the art museum’s beautiful performance space. Current students and graduates of the D’Angelo Department of Music will provide the vocals.

Jonason said the goal of the collaboration is to introduce the art museum to those of the Erie community who may not have chosen to go without the enticement of a party and musical performance.

Also, conversely, to expose museum-goers to an opera performance they may not have elected to see independently. “Mystery and illusion are regular highlights of art history,” said Art Museum Director John Vanco, “But so are superstition and fraud. Menotti’s little opera blends them all very enjoyably.”

“An Eerie Halloween” is free and open to the public, although a $15 donation is suggested. Among the prizes for “best costume” will be a year’s membership to the museum, tickets to the Visiting Artists Series at Mercyhurst’s Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center and a gift certificate from Glass Growers.

For more information about the opera production, contact Jonason at 814-824-2365. For more information about the museum, call 814-459-5477.